Seven accepts less is more for Dancing. Officially the seventh series of Dancing With The Stars was very successful, with an average audience of 1.782 million and 1.680 million for the finale. But that was the lowest final audience for any series so far and the series average was only ahead of the very poor 1.737 (by the show’s standards) for series five at the end of last year. In response, Seven has made two very significant moves to protect the show’s oomph factor. Host Daryl Somers is gone. Despite the spin from Seven and Somers, it was a meeting of minds — Somers had his nose out of joint over various things, ranging from issues with Seven CEO David Leckie, that go back to when Leckie canned Hey Hey Its Saturday, to Seven’s decision not to bring back an updated version of Hey Hey or give Dazza another variety program. Like all TV folk who think they are something special, Somers attributed the success of Dancing to his presence, but it was really the format and the judging panel. Co-host Sonia Kruger also emerged as a strong on screen personality this year and Dazza doesn’t like sharing with a second banana. And there will only be one series of Dancing next year, in the back half of the year, which should generate interest by not having the format on air screen twice during the year, as it was for the past three years. Seven has belatedly accepted that less is more is always a programming strength. Seven has Gladiators coming back next year, plus It Takes Two and Australia’s Got Talent. One of those will be able to share Tuesday nights and Seven can find another local program to run at 7.30pm, as it did when it introduced RSPCA Animal Rescue to the timeslot this year. Seven will need to find a new host, but it won’t be one of the judges like Paul Mercurio or Deal Or No Deal host Andrew O’Keefe. Could it be a previous winner? Personally I’d like to see how Sonia Kruger went. — Glenn Dyer

Optimistic Gyngell looks to the future. Nine boss David Gyngell has been quick to distance himself from past programming mistakes and the network’s sorry 2007 rating performance. He says it’s all behind him… someone else’s fault. But if he hadn’t quit in high dudgeon in April 2005, Gyngell would be the one wearing the egg of dishonour for this year’s appalling performance. Gyngell now says the network is building for 2008 and beyond but despite his optimism, the Nine’s fate rests in the hands of the programming staff, led by Michael Healy. He’s been battered by Seven since 2005 — can he recover his nerve and leave programs in place to build audiences next year? Nine will be spending much more on promotion. Network sources say it will more than double to around $14 million – $16 million, given the amount of contra it can negotiate with radio stations (Fairfax, Austereo, APN) and News Ltd. Fairfax, Ten Network and APN will be the big winners: Ten and APN control the two major out of home advertising groups, while Fairfax has a spread of papers and radio stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (as does Austereo). News Ltd has the tabloids in the three markets, which will be highly important in a marketing push, but radio will be the key as Nine looks to rebuild daily interest in its News and A Current Affair. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: How quickly we adapt to summer ratings… only four programs with a million or more viewers last night. Seven News was tops with 1.3 million viewers, followed by Nine News (1.131 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.120 million) and Seven’s repeat of Ghost Whisperer at 7.30pm (1.054 million). Operatunity Oz: Revisited on the ABC at 7.30pm, 813,000, Singing Bee on Nine at 7pm, 916,000. Don’t Forget the Lyrics on Ten at 7.30pm, 714,000. Jane Eyre on the ABC at 8.30pm, 963,000. Wild Vets on Seven at 6.30pm, 995,000. Meerkat Manor on Ten at 6.30pm, 626,000. Outrageous Fortune on Ten at 10.30pm, 311,000. Foreign content for Australian points! Ten ran fourth behind the ABC.

The Losers: No real losers because it’s summer. People like the news, current affairs and sport and that’s about it. Operatunity Oz: Revisited was the one-off standout last night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. The 7pm ABC News was the most watched news in Sydney last night with 322,000 compared to 313,000 for Seven and 306,000 for Nine. In Melbourne it was third. SBS News, 203,000 at 6.30pm. Weekend Sunrise averaged 427,000; Landline, 293,000; Insiders, 199,000, Inside Business, 127,000; Offsiders, 124,000 and Meet The Press, 79,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 28.1%, from Nine with 24.5%, The ABC with 20.7%, Ten with 18.3% and SBS with 8.4%. Seven won all five metro centres. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 30.5% from WIN/NBN with 22.8%, the ABC was third with 19.5%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.3% and SBS with 7.9%. Southern Cross’ new owners, Macquarie Media will have to get used to running fourth behind the ABC some nights in summer, especially Friday, Saturday and Sundays.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Summer came to Australian TV last night and the usual high Sunday evening figures disappeared. Friends returned on Ten at 7pm and it was like an old video had been exhumed from a vault somewhere, but it was still Ten’s second best program on the night behind the poor man’s Singing Bee, Don’t Forget the Lyrics. Best program on TV last night? Operatunity OZ: Revisited had some truthful moments (most notably from Yvonne Kenny) that moved this from a wrap up show to something a bit more heartfelt.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports